Nature Blog Network

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crane brains and behavior 2 - The wiring plan

"To represent the world is to have a special kind of wiring inside your head and special physical connections between that wiring and the world."
Peter Godfrey-Smith1

Evolution has placed the executive brain (blue in the crane's head to the right) linked by short transmission lines to the forward scanners (eyes, nose, and ears). Within that tiny efficient brain, data inputs are integrated, compared with memories, and matched to coordinated adaptive responses.

In this blogpost, we introduce some recent research about the structural layout within bird brains. From that anatomical context, we can reason upstream, starting with observations of behavior and then making informed guesses as to how the bird brain works.